“I could eat this salad every day” said one of our dinner guests last night, “It’s creamy, sweet, salty, spicy, cool and crunchy all at the same time”. The salad from David Chang’s Momofuku cookbook is called fuji apple salad, kimchi, smoked jowl and maple labne.We discovered this salad back in November and have been raving about it ever since. When I scored a jowl from the makin’ bacon class, I could hardly hide my excitement. I knew exactly what it was destined for. Designed to be a winter salad, it sounds weird but it is a sensational combination. Even if you aren’t a fan of kimchi, you could enjoy this salad.
This recipe is a lot more approachable than pig’s head torchon and some of the other recipes in the Momofuku book. The hardest part of making the salad is assembling the ingredients. One trip to the North Market could supply you with maple syrup, bacon, apples and arugula, leaving just the labne and kimchi.
1 Fuji apple per person
1/8 cup of napa cabbage kimchi per person (pureed)
2:1 ratio of labne / maple syrup ( 1/2 cup of labne should be enough for 4 people)
1/4 lb of bacon per person
1/4 cup of loosely packed arugula per person
A little olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The apples are peeled and sliced and then marinated in the pureed kimchi. It sounds weird but as Chang says “the heat and funk of the kimchi really bring out the sweetness of the fruit’. You can marinate the apples up to 6 hours ahead, but any longer and the kimchi over powers the apples. We bought the kim chi at Arirang Market on Bethel Road and you can find it at other Asian grocery stores.
The green part of the salad is arugula, lightly tossed in olive oil and seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. We have substituted other greens and it has not been detrimental.
The dressing is a roughly 2:1 ratio of labne and maple syrup (you can adjust it to taste). Labne is a Middle-Eastern strained yoghurt. It is made from cow’s milk and because it is strained it has a consistency somewhere between soft cheese and yoghurt. You can find it at Middle Eastern grocery stores such as Mediterranean Imports on High Street and Mecca Market on Hamilton. Maple syrup is easier to find. Ohio is one of the top 5 maple syrup producing states and The Greener Grocer just got some of this season’s Ohio maple syrup.
The salad is topped with smoked jowl bacon baked in the oven (18 minutes at 350°) and served warm. If you aren’t up for making your own, or can’t find jowl bacon you could substitute thick cut smoky bacon. In Columbus I recommend the bacon from Thurn’s or Bluescreek Farm Meats at the North Market. You can cook the bacon ahead of time and reheat and recrisp it before serving.
Place a dollop of the dressing on each plate (1-2 tablespoons). Top with the apples, arugula, bacon and a couple of turns of black pepper. Serve immediately. This is a good dinner party salad because you can prepare everything in advance and then plate it at the last minute.